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Richard Miniter Education. (2012) 'Leading From Behind The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.'

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United States 13, Valerie Garrett 12, Israel 11, Us 9, Nancy Pelosi 6, Clinton 6, U.s. 5, Eric 5, Valerie Jarrett 4, Chicago 4, John Boehner 4, Benjamin Netanyahu 4, Obama 3, Wright 3, America 3, Iran 3, Washington 2, Leon Cannata 2, Rahm Emanuel 2, Illinois 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV After Words    Richard Miniter  Education.  (2012) 'Leading From Behind  
   The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.'  

    September 30, 2012
    12:00 - 1:00pm EDT  

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whose story i would like to tell, usually people who showed up in an earlier novel of mine, a minor character, and then i elevate to someone else with a story. the novels are one way or another, thrillers or mystery, and i put people in od situations and write them out of them. >> we're not giving away the ending. >> good. >> we'll make people read it, but given the title, it's safe to say he was impeached by the house of representatives. >> that is correct. it's important, as i suppose most viewers remember, that the house impeaches, which is like an indictment, the senate then holds a trial. the first half of the book involves the impeachment, the second half, a trial itself, a courtroom thriller built around what the impeachment trial, had will been one, would have been. i write it as a fan of lincoln, not a foe. >> stephen carter, "the impeachment of abraham lincoln,"
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buy the book. thank you for joining us here on booktv for a few minu >> up next on booktv, "after words" with guest hosts, "forbes".com columnist. "the sunday times" urges president obama has been indecisive unconflicted throughout much of his presidency and many victories can be credited to someone else. this is about an hour. >> host: rich, congratulations on your new, "leading from behind: the reluctant president & the advisors who decide for him." first, tell our viewers how and why he decided to write the book. >> guest: when i sat down and said it wanted to write a book without adjectives. i think there aren't a lot of anti-obama books out there.
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i didn't want to be either one of those books. i want to read a book to describe it as to what i thought was the most important question, the most interesting question anyway. let's look at barack obama a character. he is the guy that is very public thank you to the experience. his entire place is that the law professors like turn, the committee table in the illinois statehouse during various meetings, but he's never the guy in the front of the room deciding, making the hard calls. he is various little management experience, suddenly he's in the most managerial job in the world. president of the united states, these are the free world is my question was how does he do it? odyssey make decisions? how does a cover? that's interesting too, but what is his leadership style? when i looked around for books
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about to dismiss the serious and sustained weight. >> you see this as a campaign document coming up close to the november election? >> guest: well, publishers do like the time for it when attention. most americans tune into politics around election time. that is more or less a happy accident. >> host: one of the things that surprised me and the surprise a lot of the leaders is all of your sources are democrats. this is a very critical study, get all of your sources were democrats. >> guest: some of the sources i don't know the politics of our long-term career and technical people, but for the most part, these are people who work alongside the president and the white house and federal agencies the halls of congress and i got to see him up close. when i discovered much to my surprise is this is an administration that is really bruised and by rivalries.
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there's an intense night and friday in disagreement in this administration. much like the back of mr. sugar next night frustration, but much unlike the last bush administration, which is very corporate and its cultural field. there wasn't a lot of sniping. and if the bush number spacing, as an exception haven't been that snake be. this administration is very different. there's a lot of fighting, confusion and frustration in the culture of the administration usually reflects the guy at the top. so you have obama as someone who comes across on the people who know him as sort of moody, indecisive, sent this come as someone who has been jokes in his presence when he's not the one telling them, someone who is not a constant predictable northstar. and that comes through in the culture of the administration. a lot of the people are willing
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to talk because at some point it will spend weeks or months working on a decision, a policy just to topple at the last minute. one of the close collection's advisers very little reefing her back out of the issue. we just sort of sweep and ended in a careful where a negotiation and planning. so it wasn't an ideological motivation. it was a personal motivation, professional motivation. >> that is certainly true. let's go through some of the case studies you talk about your icons confess i found the discussion about going after osama bin laden riveting. this was described over and over again as the democratic national convention is a bold and decisive move by this president, but she had to describe it or it differently. you talk about paralyzing indecision and political calculation.
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tell us about your understanding of this two-tier long decision process to go after osama bin laden. >> guest: well, there's two ways of looking at the osama bin laden. one is the way it did start a day before the raid and then i look at the narrative itself a minute for the aftermath. i was curious the other way of looking at it, which is to say why did the president tell from the earliest moments of his administration and what were all the decisions leading up to that final decision? day of the cotton episode, i want to look at the movie. when you look at the movie coming to get people involved in have detected people who read a senior career level. this sort of take the view that no man is a hero, people who see up close seated in a different way. you know, you read a great man's biography in that interview his wife, a different date.
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technical people saw a flood of indecision, and a lot of back-and-forth. these are people who work under clinton, worked under w. bush. they certainly saw differences in the presidencies, but they weren't necessarily ideological foes of the president. but they saw the operation, the planning of the operation stopped her stall three times in 2011 alone and they were credulous and asked why. with the valerie garrett didn't like the idea is a close adviser to the mentor and the first lady. i want to be clear. it's not that she ordered them to stop. as to the normal chain of command. they should stop working on it but not great when asked why commences the reason i came back. >> host: was valerie garrett involved in any of the discussions with hillary clinton, robert gates and land another? was she in the room quiet
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>> and clear probably not. there were a lot of discussions between valerie garrett and the president himself. remember barack obama has started about valerie garrett, he told "the new york times" in 2009, i never make an important decision without talking to valerie garrett first. he said that he meets with her two to three times a day. if you look away his visitor logs, you'll notice in the first years of the, while they were hunting bin laden, the nci director leon cannata only visits the white house nine times. so you're two to three times a day on one hand versus nine times in two years. you see the enormous influence of valerie garrett. >> host: you describe in your book how they met with the president, often. >> guest: this is the white house white house are interested in politics. >> host: you mention this case study that the president was able to make solid decisions, but never the big decisions along the way.
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>> guest: people tend to think of it like a movie come with the president picks up the phone, tells the seals to go and the next scene where and helicopters and they take off. the decision of this kind is complex and involves a lot of moving parts. you move a man to karaoke positions and get trained and rehearsed the thought of intelligence that has to be examined. even before that, you have to decide what is going to take it all. for much of 2010 was in an honest debate. should it be an airstrike? certainly the military's favorite that come in the risk of american lines is minimal. the ability to drop enormous amounts of ordnance and totally destroy the target is almost guaranteed. but that has political ramifications, too. valerie garrett and others in the white house were concerned about the shockwaves they would send them whether it toppled nearby apartments and killing or
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injuring thousands of pakistani civilians, causing the black eye for america's relations with pakistan. ultimately that was ruled out in a commander team is put forward as another alternative. was valerie garrett and others opposed to doing anything about bin laden from what they liked about the team as they thought that contained so many thorny political problems that ultimately would never be approved. and somehow because hillary clinton is consistent, barbara case, leon cannata, they manage to push the president to send final voters go. >> host: it's a striking given the anonymity of clinton and gates. that is quite striking overall. tell us a little bit about the details you uncovered about the commando raid. in particular, the discussion of adding one who can speak the languages at at the very last minute. those are fascinating details. >> host: added messier or prepare jumping out of a helicopter so put it through a
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crash course and habit out of a moving helicopter, which is sent and they do, much like we do in our cars, but requires training. but it proves to be very helpful because he was in the second team as a cia translator and was able to be can they convince the local dialect of passion zero, i believe, to keep the neighbors curious about all the noise that the compound next door to go back to their homes and so on. and he sounded like a pakistani policeman, the dole, authoritarian term they've heard many times before. >> host: that's very striking. another thing was somehow a, actually didn't help in this situation. >> guest: well, they constructed down to the last inch using photographs, an entire mockup of the bin laden compound. but when they created the outer fence, they used chain-link.
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for scaling purposes and sizing purposes, that is exactly fine. what they did notice is how that change the airflow for helicopters. and obviously in a downdraft double just go through the chain-link and allow the aircraft to settle perfectly. but they didn't anticipate how the narrow concrete walls, which would not allow air to pass would not provide the list necessary for a church in maine. that is probably the cause of the crash. >> host: have you read the book of the army said it released about? >> guest: a habit, but i've spoken to a number of people who were involved. >> host: let's go back to the leadership positions at the seals seals were flying to afghanistan. it's my understanding the president still wasn't able to give this nation a go. >> guest: he wasn't. they called for a 24 hour delay setting whether and not to be serious so i went for some difficult at the weather reports
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reviewed by the navy seals, prepared by the u.s. combat meteorological center. it was funny to you is because at the beginning they said they're classified. as of attacking about whether from a year ago. eventually i got the reports have learned there was no cause for the weather delay at all. there is a native node untrue woes loom, it wasn't a spray to disguise the helicopters, whether wind, so one was fine, but the delay was entirely political. even at the last minute, president obama was huddling with the staff and can turn that he was going to backfire. this is something that valerie garrett, the tram valerie garrett had been pounded for what a while. she was concerned it would be something like this are one. back in the carter years it was a failed effort to rescue the 52 hostages in iran and to american aircraft collided a number of american servicemen died. it is really a pivot point in the presidency. at that point, people said it's
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not just the economy. he really can't lead. and she was afraid to valerie garrett, that if the raid went badly this to be the point in the above presidency. we have a lot of similarities. high unemployment, a lot of uncertainty about the future of the economy. we have uncertainty about the future of the country, allies who are very uncertain about us and some who are deserting us. we have lots of american prestige abroad. an entity that says a disaster in an attempt to kill bin laden, that would be the pivot point. she was concerned about the politics and reelection possibility. hillary clinton, petraeus,, panetta are concerned about missing an opportunity. this is a guy who killed 3000 americans. if america ever learned was how to mentor sites and pull the trigger. >> that to the leadership quotient comes down.
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just go right. >> host: the president's decision early on was certainly something readers could understand. what would happen afterwards i think was really quite striking. here again perhaps even fingerprints of valerie garrett? >> guest: perhaps. imam's body has splashed out the back only hours before. and now, here's the president of the united states racing to the television cameras to tell the world. the intelligence and military communities purchase of chocolate cake. why would you give away one advantage you really have an war, which is that a surprise. you could have used -- the seals are too hefty trash bags full of documents, thumb drives, hard drives out of bin laden slayer. why not spend a week or two with the document exploitation teams and examine those, translate those. you could have located every senior al qaeda operative in the
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world. you could have learned, what do they get their money from, what are area charities or other means, drugs, illegal falcons smuggling. there's a lot of theories about where does it come from? were pending plot should they have? inside the united states are inside nato allies in europe or australia. you have a blueprint for the entire network. once you have that number, as fun as it doesn't know that bin laden instead, you could swoop in and surprise them, killing capture al qaeda leaders around the world, dismantle the organization and win the war. if he was willing to wait a couple weeks or a month before the television announcement, he would be just announcing the death. he would be announcing the death of al qaeda and final victory in the war on terror. he threw that away a few minutes before the television cameras. >> host: is very clear from your account from the statement
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was written in advance that they said he was ready to go politically. as you say, the surprise of many senior advisers. >> guest: he brought along with ben rose was very influential in racers. >> host: let's move onto another case study that was fascinating. they're hardly ever far from the surface of our politics. once again this morning that the assassination of the libyan ambassador, stories are back in the news once again. you talk in particular about president obama's relationship with prime minister not yahoo! at israel. tell us first about some of the influences on president obama intends to be thinking of the situation in the middle east and particularly the state of israel. >> host: when you look at this relationship that has fallen apart in israel, typically people say it is just that chemistry between the prime minister benjamin netanyahu and the president of the united states.
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it is just unfortunate circumstances these two guys just don't get along. >> host: sometimes that happens in life. >> guest: the feeder stews but the goals of the country in the organization ahead of personality. if they are unable to do that, fine. i discovered it really isn't a personality clash. really, obama's thinking on israel go back to the 1980s. i found three handwritten letters, written by barack obama to address a common appellate tinian activists, where she is trying to ingratiate himself. you see also when i touch on this briefly in the book and the reverend wright who goes after reverend wright is someone who is influential and help him rise and takes on his views of israel as well. but most importantly, you have rabbi weil, who is a neighboring hyde park area of chicago. and has a synagogue there.
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wolf is really on the far left of american politics and american jewish experience. this is a 1979 penned an article saying you should stop talking about the holocaust. at about the history of the late 1970s, which many holocaust survivors are still alive. they are still showing tattooed forearms on death camps to relatives in the press. this is a nurse and a credible consciousness of the television series of the holocaust. this is when america comes to grips that even in democracies, genocide can happen and it's an important teaching moment in the jewish community a larger american experience. and not valmiki says you should have taken of the holocaust. you're just as bad. but which are doing to palestinians. there's also the first leader of a jewish organization to call for a palestinian state. so this is someone who is very far out on the left, who is a
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harsh of israel, but most particularly of the likud party which is the party benjamin netanyahu. so because of the decades he spent with rabbi wolf, who introduces him to palestinians like richey community and so on. it really colors his thinking. now in his book, obama says he visited israel. that is true. he visited for 48 hours and you have to subtract the 18 hours of flight time there and back from newark. so it's very small -- a very small amount of time he spends in israel. most of the meeting are with people of like minded left-wing persuasion. he doesn't meet ordinary israelis and get a sense that god spectrum of the israeli position. in his knowledge of israel is based on the works of people who assert that world-famous writer and is worth reading, but has a distinct view that is outside of
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the mainstream view of israel, which is to say, israeli democracy is fundamentally flawed because it's not given full citizenship to the palestinians reach a non-race to palestinians and so on. so he comes to this first meeting with netanyahu, with a set of ideological axes to grind, if you will. >> host: one of the newer groups you see in israeli politics -- and say communis israel pogo sticks is jay street group and i think you make the point in the book that members of the jay street group has been very influential in terms of the administration and a number of meetings of the administration, more perhaps than panetta had according to white house laws. >> guest: that straight. white house visitor logs show you this is nine tenths in two years. and the same. time, it is more than 35 times.
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but never thought to look for ben to me except for what to the jay street conference to you what he had to say. that a supreme court justice there, clinton and mr. sheen -- obama administration in former clinton officials there. then he themselves brag about access to the white house and the white house ideologues certainly build that out. certainly he's much more than any of the mainstream jewish organizations for any israeli business and political organizations. it's just very much a cold peace between israel and the united states in the balmy airs. >> host: tell us how you understand leadership given relations with netanyahu and mr. expectations are for the weeks and months ahead. >> guest: first of all, he really miscalculated but a determined leader netanyahu is. he was summoned, his older brother dies rescuing hostages. he himself, benjamin netanyahu
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was rescued, so he's been a commando. he is the son of one of the most committed zionist scholars, well-regarded scholars, someone who in his tradition, history is personally brave any ideas you might be intimidated by the office of the presidency of the united states is simply silly and someone who at great access to u.s. media. the idea of the obama people believed they could roll with netanyahu was a foolish gamble and then to double down on that simply made things worse. but there is -- there is no obvious goal to their policies. they will not persuade any of the crew or a minister can assert or not this one, benjamin netanyahu, to revert an 1867 lines. it was foolish to ask. politics started as possible.
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>> host: as you think about the situation in the middle east today, how can -- or can obama go for good leadership -- lack of leadership shown in this area? >> guest: i think they are focused on a problem from the 1970s, which is to say peace between palestinians and israelis in after the 1993 has little cores in which palestinians were granted more than 90% of what they wanted and still said no. a lot of israelis, the moment for making all of her piece has passed. it may come again, but certainly for the moment is past. meanwhile, both the sunni arabs and the israeli jewish are concerned about the growth of the persian bomb. we have thousands of centrifuges spending in iran now 24 different sides so that they sort of avoided making the iraqi mistake. in981 they bombed in iraq and stopped for a time there, the likud program. they spread the program outcome of prime mission scientist and
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scientists in other countries as well. it's a very sophisticated, also adapted to carry atomic devices. they are very determined to become an atomic power. it is important to remember what atomic powers do. they don't detonate atomic bombs. they threaten to do so. and when i talked to the high-ranking officials in bahrain, saudi arabia and nearby arab countries, they are equally terrified israelis. they know what kind of concessions they are going to demand and they are not going to be small and ambition. >> ht: frightening. let's move on to fast and furious. we are awaiting the inspector general served toward, eric holder and the president had touched by waiting for the verdict on what happened in the fast and furious operation. you see this as another example of deficiencies in obama's leadership, in particular dealing with subordinates, in this case the attorney general,
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personal friend, eric holder. let's walk through the steps about fast and furious happen in obama's leadership. >> host: >> guest: what happens when his subordinates combine. they had to retract sworn statements made before the united states house of representatives. multiple sworn statements. they had to change the story is the number times. and it is clear that the withholding of evidence, congressional investigators have identified some 70,000 pages of documents responsive to their request. >> host: they don't feel they've got them all this? >> guest: they've only got 70,000. it's an incredible number. so with a subpoena issued, lawfully they only had two choices that could turn over the documents, which if the documents are exculpatory like they say, frankly why not turn over the documents in the
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scandal? instead, they did something unusual, something very nixon like and which is the extension of executive privilege. executive privilege usually protects the president and director geysers they can offer candid advice. usually that is outside the scope of congressional investigations. and of course pending national security or criminal cases. but those are the three reasons why generally you get to deny subpoena. they are just trying to cover holder. now look at the complex relationship between eric holder and the president of the united states. first of outcome that there is an incredible debt of gratitude there. early on in 2007, obama's candidacy for presidency looks like a longshot. eric holder and then deputy attorney general under clinton, came to work for his campaign. they were able to push that to donors sent to the press, see clinton's people are coming over, we do have a future.
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then eric holder in the course of the campaign was spared a number of key moment. reverend wright was one example, where he was able to handle the crisis in one new donations spent some in the press overcome key speeches. so can the president became very close. he summoned the few cabinet members to seize the president of the may be the only receives the president on a social basis. unlike other cabinet secretaries, the transportation secretary, ray lahood didn't see the president after he was sworn in when his son was kidnapped. so this was for several years. he is from illinois. there is a chicago connection there, too. you can say transportations number one agenda is to get the third runway for o'hare. and yet they didn't see each other for years. they have dispersed personal relationship, more important to eric holder has a deep relationship with leaders of the
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black community, that the president simply doesn't have. he knows all sharpton speaks at this event, she knows jesse jackson senior and junior the longtime personal relationship with them and then enter once a black leaders. so the political calculation here is if president obama fire is eric holder, he just fired the first african-american attorney general of the united states. how does that play with the key voting bloc? another matter is heard as he replaced eric tiny shore. it's hard to confirm some of the book the senate going into election mode. so it's a difficult problem, but the key test of leadership as he should always remove a subordinate who has lost the trust of those he works with. remember the statistic, more than 200 sitting members of congress, house and senate have called on eric holder to resign. that's the largest number
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calling any attorney general to resign. postcode lets talk about the operation itself. most of your readers will be familiar with the killing of agent brian terry. you make the claim that hundreds of people are dead because of operation fast and furious. i wonder who support that. just go hundreds of inside mexico. the mexican justice department based on examining crime scenes and so on. ..
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>> guest: these are almost always a problem. the agency ,-com,-com ma for a long time, wanted a jurisdiction to expand and they knew them that, therefore, to have a scenario that could be lawfully used in crimes to expand jurisdiction. there is an ideological agenda here and there is a clear agenda here. "operation wide receiver" was in place, there are now other controls in place, and it was a
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failure. it wasn't a dangerous failure, but they decided to double down early in the obama years. how far it went with the president involved, so far, we just don't know. but it seems likely that of this situation, it could be those who stonewalled were promoted and brought back to washington to cushy jobs only those who were stonewalled were pushed out of the agency. >> host: let's move on to something that is more directly involved. which is the health care health care policy. it is described as a signature initiative.
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in particular, with relation to nancy pelosi. she was extraordinarily influential in the health care debate and moving it forward with the president leaving from behind. >> guest: yes, that is pretty much it. you know, i don't share nancy pelosi's politics, but i have come to admire her as a leader. i really got a different sense of nancy pelosi. here is someone who is very jealous of her prerogative to speaker, but had a very different idea. she had been on the democratic platform since 1948. lbj had tried, clinton had tried, she wanted to try and she wanted to win. she wanted to get some version of national health care passed
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costs in the united states and she did it. first, she had to win over obama himself. rahm emanuel was completely opposed. >> host: he had been there before and seen this movie before. >> guest: exactly, he had seen this and he had done so. it could be a disaster and you could see it coming. there were key moments in which it looked like it was going to fail, and he wanted to distance himself from that. losey would happen call him and get him to waver and senator come and she even had congressman barney frank do so to.
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>> host: this is one of the reasons that rahm emanuel is in chicago. >> guest: i think that is also part of it. differences as well. he is more than a different figure. >> host: let's talk about what she recently did a. >> host: that is correct. she confronted her own numbers and said you're going to have to vote for it it to see what's in it and she pushed it to the max. she said if there is a fence, we will climb the fence. we will get to the gate and the border and she was absolutely determined. she got the bill passed, but lost her position as a result of
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it. >> host: rethink obama was thinking about that all along based on his hesitation of every stage in this debate and was he worried about political calculations? >> host: it is a matter of degree. >> guest: he was just a blink of an eye ago a u.s. senator. and a moment before that, a junior lawmaker. he is just adapting to being president of the united states and does not fully realize that it is a different type of leadership post in which when you are a lawmaker, you have to distance yourself from failure very quickly. when he saw obamacare getting into trouble, he wanted to back away and talk about something else. this is very much how a junior lawmaker would act.
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particularly as a speaker of a house or the general of a ceo company, they see mountains in the way and the climb them and they get there. that is not what junior people do. they are always setting themselves up for the next thing. i don't think obama has made the mental adjustment. >> host: so he needs to let others set the priorities for him? is that what he did? >> guest: that is exactly what he did. >> host: we didn't hear that much about that at the democratic convention, that we? [laughter] bob woodward and his new book seemed to be very much in agreement on the discussions in 2011. talk about those. >> guest: we have probably talked to some of the same people. although i have no way of
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knowing. here is an extraordinary moment. the republican party brings the tea party back from the dead immediate control of the congress. john boehner is the speaker of the house. john boehner realizes that he has to confront his own people if he is going to save the credit rating them back on moody's and save it from downgrade. this is going to be a political disaster. john boehner can fill in the back of his scalp that this is going to be burning on the republicans. he feels political blame but it's also worried about the country. two hearts -- two heartbeats away from the downgrade. and so, he does something extraordinary. he acts like a leader.
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he comes up with a compromise. that is a political possibility from where he sits and he finds out a way to close loopholes and raise some $800 billion in new revenue. that should be enough to make a deal with the president of the united states. and he manages to come to a deal. even shake hands. and they can feel history, the wind of history at their back. and then we will reform entitlement. the vice president is deeply involved. at the very moment that they are making this deal and they shake hands, obama suddenly gets cold feet. and he realizes that the gang of
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six planned in the u.s. senate raises some $1.2 trillion, much more than a hundred billion. ultimately, he decides that he is going to torpedo his own deal. rather than confront the liberal lines of the senate. those who simply don't want to give up or reform entitlement. that's not why they were elected. but it won't take the legacy of their youth and they don't want to change the past. obama, as a leader of the united states is not prepared to get half half a dozen old men to say, wait a minute, the country is about to go off a cliff. we have this extraordinary deal with the house of representatives. instead, he goes with them. and he gets nothing. he gets a budget of more than
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700 days. the trust in washington is gone. even senate democrats don't trust them. the president is unable to govern in key economic areas. is an extraordinary moment. >> host: if obama is reelected, what are we suggesting -- another downgrade? >> i think if the house and senate remain as they are and obama is reelected. in other words, the status quo continues, i think that we did stagnation. >> if the democrats gain control of the senate again? >> if they continue to control the senate. they do control the house. i have seen stagnation going forward. in ability, the lack of trust of key players is enormous. the inability to think outside the box.
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let's look at the bigger picture here. the entitlement state was created in the 1930s and expanded in the 1950s, but it is almost 50 years old. one other thing in american life is unchanged and 50 years? >> the fact that one political party, the democrats, are not prepared to make any reforms in entitlement is simply extraordinary. this is a crisis that is happening not just in the united states, but throughout the western world, western europe, this is what is happening in japan and australia. the baby boomers retire, we are going to have to confront the entitlement state. to make those hard choices, you either need leaders that learn to grow up or you need a new set of leaders. >> host: president obama's
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relationship with the health care bill and the debt ceiling, i think it is many people find that extraordinarily detrimental to his success. >> guest: the debt reduction, one of the great antidote between harry reid on obama and nancy pelosi -- obama is going on at some length. nancy pelosi leans over and hit the button and starts a conversation with harry reid. that illustrates everything. it illustrates a lack of trust that simply isn't there. they see him as an empty seat. he hasn't been able to deliver on anything. conservatives tend to think that they see obama as an evil genius, which i think he is an ordinary man trying to make things the best that he can. but progressives are deeply disappointed in them. they had a much bigger agenda.
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they needed a personality like an lbj to make that happen. hillary might have had a personality. she probably does, actually. this is someone who is solitary and bookish and those are adjectives that describe him is unlikely to retreat to a private office in the white house. his own staff doesn't know how to decide on three issues. >> host: let's go back to the first chapters. you talk about the enormous influence of women over obama? >> guest: first of all, it sounds like it is somehow a bad thing to be involved with women. but let's be clear, women are wonderful and it is a sign of a generational politics chipped
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in. it really needs to meet him where he is. successful women tend to be a little better at this, and i don't want to sound like freud, but he's a bit like his mother. she liked to have a relationship at arms length, solitary, aggressive, could be like, in her outlook. but she is very independent and she one of a lot of time alone. for a small child, this was a difficult experience. this is what he became familiar with it he spent time in indonesia and time with his
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grandparents in hawaii. if you look at some of the key women in his life, then you look at valerie jarrett, she is his advisor to both the president and the first lady. she has found michelle obama offers significant jobs since 1991. she is the only one who goes on vacation with the first family. >> host: that is an extraordinary relationship. tell us about her and valerie jarrett's background. >> guest: valerie jarrett was born iranian and is a noted blood researcher. she was born there and spend a lot of for topic following her parents around the middle east to the developing world and in some cases, western europe. so when she meets barack obama in 1991 at a café in chicago, they had a lot in common.
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they grew up in muslim countries. iran and indonesia. they had a different perspective. definitely on the left part of the american political spectrum. and they have a disdain for what they consider american parochialism. that becomes a bonding moment for them very early on. but let's not forget who valerie jarrett is to be obama's. she is the gilded arch gateway into the establishment. she knows everyone. she is from a prosperous family that has been successful for a long period of time she is the deputy chief of staff friend, she knows a lot of people. she went to stanford law school. very connected very influential,
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very powerful. and she has done enormously beneficial things for them. they have become very grateful. she has essentially become a third member of the family. hillary is another strong woman. that i find really interesting. i can't wait until she writes a book about it. here is someone who is arrival to obama in the 2008 campaign, and this is one of the most decisive, harsh, nomination crises in democratic history. she has been given a seat at the table. and the bid for party unity. they are going to put her on an island that they are not intending to visit.
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she hasn't just been voted voted off voted off the island, they're not going to be sending postcards. she has one condition. she will take the job under one condition. she wants a weekly standing meeting with the president, and she gets it. i bet those first few meetings were pretty awkward. they usually occur on thursday mornings. but in the course of those meetings, she wins and loses over the president through her hard work and her intelligence and comes to realize that she is a familiar figure. a strong and confident progressive minded woman. and women like her, he feels comfortable with her. and she knows how to read him. she has spent her life doing this. look at her father and her brother, other men in her life. she knows how to deal with these men. and she knows how to deal with barack obama. >> guest: we should conclude by talking about leadership itself
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and what you view as a key ingredient in how those affect what we have seen in barack obama. >> guest: number one, i think a leader he is engaged. we have brought obama walking out in 2009 during a briefing on the oil crisis. the room is crowded with coast guard officials and epa and the department of energy and so on. negotiations get tough, john boehner, at one point, he walks out of the room. at another point, then speaker nancy pelosi, he says i'm not a stupid man walks out of the room. this is not leadership. a leader stays engaged. he wins people over and wins them to their vision, or swedes, compromises, cajoled, does what has to be done in order to get
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their, where ever there is. that is one of the aspects of leadership. he is tough on his subordinates just as he is on himself. when he has acted domestically, he needs to go. the leader has a vision, too. >> i think he was determined in the face of some opticals. if you are solitary person or ceo of a corporation, it is about obstacles, overcoming adversity. getting there. you just don't give up. inspired, you keep on going. inspire yourself first and you keep going until you get there. the impossible is made possible by people with vision and determination. there is a reason why we have
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leaders and we don't randomly select people out of the selection process. not everyone has the quality. the question is does barack obama have the leadership quality? >> host: and you have said that you have not yet seen an obama with that. >> guest: yes, i have not seen him do that. barack obama took on something that was risky and gambled it all. the closest you get to that isn't of the modern rate. you see a series of stops and starts and stalls. you see them try to change the story about what happened a number of times.
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there are so many things about that that simply don't add up. they said that they gave the bin laden a [inaudible] >> host: there is a pretty big gap between these candidates this time. >> guest: there is currently an 11-point advantage on barack obama. i don't see why. the only foreign policy he has succeeded at killing bin laden. >> host: i also think that president obama has actually been on the same page where
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americans are in terms of iraq, drawing down, but as you said, that's not what a leader does. >> guest: we need to select in the side. we have a crisis in europe which can affect us. the crisis of the dollar, the jobless priceless here. there are a lot of causes the president had picked up would resonate with the public instead of taking obscure bits from the progressive wishlist like health care reform. >> host: we have only a few minutes left. tell us about your biggest conclusions and what you might do next. >> guest: this book was -- when you write a book coming to enter big questions. you're going to play detective for a year or so. you want to spend some time really thinking about this. this came as a great surprise
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me. i was expecting to find something very different. i was expecting to find a much more determined leader, someone who indicates a new generation in american politics. if you look at the debates in 2008 between john mccain and brought obama, with mccain aesop is hobbled war, speaking about a war, no one was talking about it anymore. spoke in the language of the u.s. senate. it is very compliced in a complicated way. then you have this tall and confident man seemed to speak directly and connect with people. and now americans have a choice between those two people. and now we are seeing very much reduced efforts in the office. he has lost the ability to lead if he ever had it. and we have a tendency sometimes
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in america to took more people before they are ready. and then to make them once they are there, but ultimately, a kind of ruthlessness in regards to their character as well. i think this is going to be a very momentous year and i think this is going to be a year in which next year will be very difficult. and we really need to examine the entitlement state and the nature of the american political level. while we may be war abroad, we are changing things abroad. i think the world is going to look very different. warriors from now than it does today. >> host: you said that there are some key areas where americans
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need to make some key progress. where will we be? >> guest: i see a sizable number of undecided people. "a-team" 9% of people are undecided. 7% of those are for gary johnson. [laughter] ultimately, though, i think this is another carter presidency. obama is not a visionary or competent leader. he is really miscast and there is a tragic element all of this. >> host: has this both given you an idea for another book? >> guest: not at this point. >> host: okay.
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if you very much for this extraordinary interview and we look forward to your book, "leading from behind." >> that was "after words" in which authors are interviewed by journalists and news personalities. it airs at 12:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on sundays. you can also watch it online at booktv.org. click on "after words" on the upper right side of the page.
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>> let me estimate how much we forget of our own ideas. we are just terrible, even those of us who have good memories, we forget particularly if an idea is kind of a fleeting sense of something that is interesting in a kind of disappears. one of the things that i found a lot of people doing, is not just write everything down, but to keep everything together. do not over organize your notes. don't put them off in the folders and things like that. you want to allow interesting things to happen between your ideas. the important thing is to go back and reread all of those notes and look at those notes from six years ago and revisit that. that is what it was like for most of the great writers. they would write their own notes and they would go back and reread this book,